Pete Hammond

With The Social Network winning big with Film Editors, and True Grit doing the same across town with the Sound Mixers, Saturday represented the first night in several weekends when the big news was not The King’s Speech. Last night added a little surprise and diversity to an awards season that was becoming a bit predictable. Attention must be paid in particular to the American Cinema Editor’s ACE Eddie Awards, an uncanny predictor not only of who will win the all-important Best Editing Oscar but also Best Picture. So Saturday night was very important for The Social Network which has been trying to regain ground lost in several other Guild contests this season.

The Social Network’s Eddie win as Best Edited Dramatic Feature Film over other formidable Best Pic and Editing Oscar contenders like Black Swan, The King’s Speech, and The Fighter, not to mention the not Oscar-nominated Inception, was a big psychological boost to its Academy chances. Especially because it comes on the heels of a BAFTA win in the Editing category last weekend against hometown fave King’s Speech.  Now already favored in the Director and Adapted Screenplay categories, an Editing win would give The Social Network three categories that almost always add up to a Best Picture winner. The last film to take all three without winning Best Pic was Traffic in 2000.

The difference is now there are ten Best Picture nominees judged separately with a preferential voting system, something that almost certainly favors a consensus film like The King’s Speech. It’s entirely possible this weird split could be the scenario next Sunday at the Kodak.

At any rate the Eddie winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Editing 17 out of the last 19 years. And the Eddie-winning film has won Best Picture a whopping 14 times since 1990. Winner Angus Wall thanked The Social Network‘s director David Fincher for being an inspiring mentor and “jumpstarting” his career 22 years ago. While co-winner Kirk Baxter cited the clip reel of Lifetime Achievement honoree Michael Kahn as his own benchmark for excellence.

Other feature film winners were Alice In Wonderland for Best Edited Feature-Comedy or Musical, Toy Story 3 in animation and Exit Through The Gift Shop for Documentary. Modern Family, Treme, The Walking Dead and Temple Grandin won TV awards in the swiftly paced ceremony held at the Beverly Hilton, coming in under two hours. Highlights were the lifetime achievement award to Michael Kahn presented by his collaborator of 35 years, Steven Spielberg, who said Kahn is “my flashlight… He lets me see my movie again and again as if it were the first time. He’s as much an artist as Frank Gehry is an architect.”  Another highlight came when The Dark Knight‘s Aaron Eckhart presented the Golden Eddie to director Christopher Nolan who accepted by saying “editing is at its best when it is extremely invisible and mysterious.”

Among those presenting ACE awards were Oscar nominees Javier Bardem, David O. Russell,  and Amy Adams. The Hangover’s Ken Jeong hosted.

Meanwhile, True Grit was an unexpected winner at the Cinema Audio Society’s sound mixing awards held at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. It beat Inception, Black Swan, The Social Network, and Shutter Island. Highlight of that ceremony was presentation of the CAS Filmmaker Award to Taylor Hackford by Oscar-nominated and DGA-winning The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper who flew in from London in order to make the appearance.

Awards Columnist Pete Hammond - tip him here.

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